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US colleges offer free food to students who ignore their phones in class

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Penn State (Facebook)

Thousands of college students in the United States are being bribed to ignore their phones during class with free food and store discounts. Students at colleges including Penn State and California State University, Chico, have downloaded an app called Pocket Points that tracks how long a smartphone is kept locked and gives out points accordingly. The app — first developed by a student at the Chico university — encourages students to earn points by ignoring their mobile devices, rewarding them with treats for paying attention to the classes they pay thousands of dollars for.

20 minutes without checking your phone earns one point

For every 20 minutes a phone is left locked while the app is running, students earn one point, but teamwork can speed that process — the more students are using the app on campus at the same time, the faster points are paid out. Penn State says the points can be used in its student bookstore, with 10 points netting users a 15 percent discount on university-branded apparel, but a number of nearby businesses — including the fine-sounding establishment Bradley's Cheesesteaks and Hoagies — also offer discounts if you can prove you weren't checking your Facebook feed in class.

Dedicated fans of free food may be hoping to use the app to game the system, earning points for locking their phones for hours on end in order to earn infinite hoagies, but the app has geographical restrictions. You'll only be able to earn Pocket Points on campus at either Penn State or California State University, Chico — at least until other institutes of higher education start to bribe their students to listen to their lectures.